Imagine being unable to visit London just because you have a disability…..This is at the heart of what inspired AbleStay.
AbleStay would not have been possible without the very generous financial support from family and a few good friends. You know who you are and please know we are so very grateful. Without your support, we could not have purchased the first AbleStay house. Thank you for believing in our project.
In November 2019, we received a post on our Facebook group, Accessible Holidays and Day Trips, set up to support the disabled community. Emma Moss (aka Mummy with MND) asked for recommendations where she and her husband could stay in London to include ceiling track hoist, a profiling bed and a fully accessible bathroom.
London is our GREAT CAPITAL CITY, so surely not a tall order? Or so you would think.
We were staggered to realise that nobody could suggest one single hotel room nor self-catering property that could meet Emma’s needs. Surely this couldn’t be right?
After hours and hours of searching, we discovered that London, although claiming to be one of the most ‘accessible’ cities in Europe, has ZERO accommodation that is FULLY accessible for those with complex physical disabilities.
Most people think ‘accessible accommodation’ is a wider door and some grab rails, presuming that ‘one size fits all’, but this is simply NOT the case. Accessibility is SO much more than that, as many of you will know.
Too often disabled people avoid travelling because it is simply ‘Just too difficult’, and it's like playing ‘Accessibility Roulette’, you never know what you're going to get - or even if you can fit your wheelchair through the front door! Why should disabled people miss out on the experiences that able-bodied people take for granted every single day?
The reality is there are ¼ million + people in the UK with complex physical disability (Cerebral Palsy, MND, Muscular Dystrophy, Stroke, Paralysis, Spinal Injuries etc) and nowhere for them (or their families) to stay in London. For able-bodied people there are over 165,000 hotel rooms and 72,000 self catering properties to choose from. Not one of these is what we (or Visit England) would class as fully accessible.
Hotel rooms - 165,000
Airbnb - 72,000
Fully Accessible - 0
Just look at that ratio.
The bottom line is, no one really cares enough about this struggle but we have recognised the extremity and unfairness of this problem and decided something had to change. This is the first part of our story.
The second part of our story is our son Kit, our ‘golden ticket to greatness’ as we jokingly tell him.
Kit made a stormy entrance into the world 13 years ago and he has completely transformed our lives.
Kit has quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and we have made it our mission to ensure his life as fulfilled, inclusive and happy as possible. Part of this is our ongoing determination to find a solution to every challenge.
For 13 years we have dedicated our lives to Kit. As any parent of a child with disability will know, your eyes are completely opened to the world of disability and it becomes your absolute passion.
It is with this passion that we want to change the lives of others and we feel we have the platform to DO MORE and to make a difference.
Emma’s Facebook comment was the pivotal moment for us both personally and professionally, the seed that has grown into AbleStay. Thank you to our Kit for constantly keeping us on our toes, it is a privilege to be your parents.
So, taking the attitude we have applied with Kit his whole life, we decided if the whole of London has not ONE self-catered property, or hotel room that is fully accessible, and we mean TRULY accessible, let’s make one ourselves.
In the words of Field of Dreams “If you build it, they will come”!
And this is how AbleStay began.
Please see link to all our & Emma's socials.